Eleocharis dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch.

Last updated: 27 May 2015

Scientific Name

Eleocharis dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch.


Carex tuberosa (Schult.) Blanco [Illegitimate], Eleocharis austrocaledonica Vieill., Eleocharis dulcis var. tuberosa (Schult.) T.Koyama, Eleocharis equisetina J.Presl & C.Presl, Eleocharis esculenta Vieill., Eleocharis indica (Lour.) Druce, Eleocharis plantaginea (Retz.) Roem. & Schult., Eleocharis plantaginea var. stolonifera Boeckeler, Eleocharis plantagineiformis Tang & F.T.Wang, Eleocharis plantaginoidea W.Wight [Illegitimate], Eleocharis plantaginoides (Rottb.) Domin, Eleocharis tuberosa Schult., Eleocharis tumida (Roxb.) Schult., Limnochloa plantaginea (Retz.) Nees, Limnochloa tumida (Roxb.) Nees, Scirpus dubius Roxb., Scirpus plantagineus Retz., Scirpus plantaginoides Rottb., Scirpus tuberosus Roxb. [Illegitimate], Scirpus tumidus Roxb. [1]

Vernacular Name


Tike [2]


Chinese water chestnut [2], water chesnut, tall spike –rush [3]


Bi qi [3]


Sesur [3]


Peperetan (Javanese); babawangan (Sundanese); teki [2]


Haeo (General); haeo-chin (Central) [2]


Apulid (Tagalog; Bikol); pagappo (Ibanag); buslig (Bisaya; Ilokano) [2]


Mëm phlông [2]


M[ax] th[af]y, n[aw]n ng[oj]t, n[aw]ng [2]

Geographical Distributions

Eleocharis dulcis is a widespread variable species of the Old World tropics, distributed from tropical West Africa and Madagascar through India eastwards to south-eastern China, Japan, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, Micronesia and Melanesia. [2]

E. dulcis occurs in open places both in salt or brackish and in freshwater swamps, often forming pure stands surrounding the open water, from sea level up to 1350 m altitude and as far as 40°N latitude in China. [2]

Botanical Description

E. dulcis comes from the Cyperaceae family. It is a perennial, rhizomatous, semi-aquatic herb that often grown as an annual crop. [2]

The stem is erect, cylindrical, tufted, measures 40-200 cm tall, measuring 3-10 mm in diametre, longitudinally striate and with distinctly transversely septate. The intersepta is 5-12 mm long, hollow, smooth and greyish to glossy dark green. [2]

The leaves are reduced to some bladeless basal sheaths, measure 3-20 cm long, membranous, oblique or truncate at the apex and reddish brown to purple. [2]

The inflorescence is a single, terminal, with many-flowered spikelet, cylindrical, measuring 1.5-6.0 cm x 3-6 cm, as thick as or somewhat thicker than the stem and obtuse to acute at the apex. The glumes are numerous, oblong, measuring 4.0-6.5 mm x 1.7-3.2 mm and with densely imbricate. [2]

The flowers are bisexual, with perianth of 6-8, slender, unequal and with white to brown bristles. There are 3 stamens with linear anthers and measure 2-3 mm long. The style is 7-8 mm long with 2-3-fid while the enlarged base persistent in fruit. [2]

The fruit is an obovoid nut (achene), measuring 1.5-2.2 mm x 1.2-1.8 mm and shiny yellow to brown. [2]

The rhizome is short with elongated stolons where each one is often terminates in a zoned, depressed spherical and brownish to blackish corm. It is 1-4 cm in diametre. [2]


E. dulcis need to grow in warm growing season with at least 220 frost-free. The corms will only sprout at soil temperatures above 14°C. The field should be kept inundated for at least 6 months. The preferred soils are rich clay or muck soils with a pH of 6.9-7.3. E. dulcis can be grown successfully in slightly more acid soils provided that these are limed. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

No documentation.

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of E. dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1 Eleocharis dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch. [homepage on the Internet] c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 May 28] Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-242450
  2. Eleocharis dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Henschel. In: Flach M, Rumawas F, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 9: Plants yielding non-seed carbohydrates. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 1996.
  3. Quattrocchi UFLS. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology (5 Volume set). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 1536.